“Three Young Farmers” of August Sander, 1914. From The Sunday Muse
Endless are the silly norms - hat brims to hemlines -
ready to be codified into law we signed God’s name
onto, forming a grooved, unnecessary moat. 

Endless is the cycle in which we confound 
community and conformity, producing children 
like factory batch cookies who are easy to marry off.  

Endless is the line of us ducklings, 
waddling behind a straw man 
we told ourselves was God. 

Endless are the ways to render ourselves 
indistinct as raindrops, to relinquish responsibility
for the deviant religion we followed into existence.


The Sunday Muse, Go Dog Go Cafe, dVerse, W3


  1. This is gorgeously rendered! Such a fresh perspective on the subject, yes we are often expected to follow norms and that too, blindly. Thank you so much for adding your voice to the prompt ❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very well written. I have a lot to say, but I will just note that I once wrote a poem with a line about not wanting to be a “cookie-cutter Artscroll clone,” but I took out “cookie-cutter” before it got published on Hevria. (I think I thought it was cliched and Americanised.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice! Very thought provoking. And like all things with no end in sight all is endless and eternal. My perspective on this prompt was that of a child, and yours, of an adult. Unfortunately, neither is endless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm, good point. I used endless because a) I thought of the cycle of social norms to abuse in this way as seemingly (and unfortunately) endless, perpetuating this non-religion as a religion, b) I liked the poetic effect of the repetition of endless and c) mainly because it linked to one of the prompts. But you’re right that it doesn’t make sense if you’re looking at it from the perspective of an individual

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s actually very timely for me. While I’m very traditional in my beliefs, at the same time I strongly dislike the garb, especially veils, traditional Catholics wear. I stick out like a sore thumb in church because I don’t wear it. And I wear pants. It’s so odd, I’m a hussy there and a frump everywhere else. Are you going through something religion-wise to prompt the poem?

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    • The dress codes and assumptions bother me. Like there’s so much attention paid in specific Orthodox communities to the particulars of hat and kippah choice for men, thickness of stockings, hemlines of skirts, type of haircovering, even length of wig (don’t even get me started on Orthodox married woman head coverings)…and like, wearing a kippah technically isn’t even a commandment. Not every community or even every Orthodox community is like that, and I deliberately choose to live in communities where no one will ever hassle me, but conceptually, it just bothers me to see my religion reduced to conformity standards. Judaism is more than black hats and modesty standards.

      I had no idea veil wearing was a thing in Catholic church services. Then again I think the only time I was in a Catholic church was for my friend’s wedding ceremony several years ago so that is probably not representative.

      I also agree with you that one shouldn’t make assumptions based on appearance or dress. The most religious people I have ever met didn’t look the part. Does your community give you a hard time?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can see how people become pedantic about these things. I’m a pedant myself but even I have my limits, like I do in this place. To be too focused on particulars is to completely lose the point. The veil thing is popular among the very traditional crowd. I don’t have a problem if people like to wear it. I just don’t want to. But they don’t give me a hard time–they don’t give me any time! We’ve been going there since last year and have made little headway making friends, which is weird because we usually make friends at all the different places we go. The way I look at it, while I’d be happy to make friends, I’m here to worship, so I’m not going to worry too much about it. Not to mention the fact that Catholics are oddly unfriendly without meaning to be. A person might see you at Church X and never say hello, but see you at a function at Church Y and be overjoyed to see their friend from Church X. Now that I think about it, that actually did happen with another parishioner from the traditional church that I saw somewhere else.

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        • I think to attend only for prayer/worship with no expectations for making friends is impressive. I’m primarily motivated by prayer/worship too – I’m on the board of a congregation with no young people (and I don’t care) because I love their services, and I will never join a congregation that is a bad fit religiously in order to make friends. But I still hope to be at least friendly with the other people. True friends are rare anywhere in adulthood, but I’ve at least been successful with the friendly fellow congregants part.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Silly norms indeed. I have been escaping into Downton Abbey, which I had not expected to like so much, given the norms of the day. But it is a lovely escape from the grimness of Now. I especially like “producing children like factory batch cookies”………….

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    • Agreed. Religion has plenty of problems (I say this as a moderately religious person). At the same time, I also don’t think that putting that same kind of faith and devotion into secular institutions/philosophies is necessarily an improvement. I think the answer is faith in something you find personally meaningful, makes you a better person, and improves your life, but I don’t encourage blind faith in anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The “hat brims to hemlines” image is such a great concrete visual to represent silly norms.

    “producing children
    like factory batch cookies”

    The whole poem is great and I love the third stanza especially.

    Liked by 1 person

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